The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, readalong week No.1 #RRSciFiMonth

Today is the start of a readalong of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.  The readalong has been organised by Lisa at Over The Effing Rainbow and is part of this year’s Sci-Fi Month.  The details for the readalong are here and the schedule looks like this:

Week 1 (Friday, November 6th): “Transit” to “Port Coriol” (95 pages)
Week 2 (Friday, November 13th): “Port Coriol” to “The Last War” (110 pages)
Week 3 (Friday, November 20th): “The Last War” to “Heresy” (107 pages)
Week 4 (Friday, November 27th): “Heresy” to end (90 pages)

All welcome.

So, to the questions, with a timely reminder before we start that the following may contain spoilers:

1. First things first, we get to meet the central cast – the crew of the Wayfarer. What are your first impressions of this crew? Which members, if any, stand out the most to you and why?

It’s a very interesting crew to read about so far with a lot of diversity and I’m feeling that this is a story that’s going to be strongly character based which I love.  We’re already getting a good feel for Rosemary and the crew and we’re only a quarter in.  This is only a small crew really aboard a big ship – I kept having mental images of Alien and Red Dwarf flitting through my brain, not to mention Star Trek (it’s a wonder I could even concentrate!)  Rosemary is interesting and I wonder what her secret is.  The Captain, Ashby, seems like a decent enough character, ambitious, Sissy is intriguing being from a different race and Corbin appears to be the onboard hypochondriac who we haven’t heard very much about yet so difficult to get a feel for him.  So far, for me, Dr Chef and Kizzy are stealing the show.  Early days I suppose.  I love Kizzy’s over the top, optimistic energy and the way Dr Chef seems to be the homely, take care of everyone sort – which I suppose he’s well equipped to do with six feet/hands.  Also we have Jenks and Lovey – Lovey is the AI – and it appears that her and Jenks are having a bit of a romance.  I look forward to seeking how that develops.  They’re a good bunch of characters to read about so far and Chambers has quite an easy and captivating style of developing them.

2. Rosemary gets a rather entertaining physics lesson regarding space tunnelling from Kizzy, upon her first full day as a crew member. What are your thoughts on the science part of the fiction?

This is the one things that I worry about when reading sci-fi.  Basically, I’m a bit like Rosemary in that I’m sort of a sci-fi newbie – or, more to the point if things get too complicated I zone out a bit or just become bored.  I want accessible sci-fi that I can understand and so far, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle of what’s going on – after all the explanation with the fruit punching through the porridge was easy to grasp even for me!

3. We go into the story aware that Rosemary is hiding something from the rest of the crew, and that she’s gone to great lengths to do so. Any ideas/suspicions/speculation you’d like to share on what her secret might be?

I really don’t have the faintest notion what she’s hiding although whatever it is she seems to think she was innocent (and these are her internal thoughts so perhaps she is – she’d be more likely to be expressing guilt internally otherwise?).  I can’t help thinking, reading between the lines so far that whatever it is she’s running from maybe isn’t as bad as she thinks – but then I think why would she go to all this trouble and be hiding her identity if it wasn’t such a big deal?  Maybe she’s just made a big mistake and was the talk of the town and is running away to hide her embarrassment more than anything else?  Basically the TL:DR is I don’t know but I have a feeling that she’s maybe made it into something bigger than it really is.  I’m usually wrong however so watch this space.

4. Ashby scores a huge job – and a huge potential payout – for the Wayfarer, but it means possibly having to get mixed up in a violent civil war. What do you make of what we know so far about the Toremi?

I have that feeling of ‘if something seems like it’s too good to be true, then maybe it is’ – but perhaps that’s too pessimistic and I have no real firm thoughts yet on the Toremi.  Plus I feel like the crew have to reach their destination before they can contemplate the pitfalls of becoming involved?  I can’t help feeling that something will go wrong along the way – after all, we’ve had the ‘punching a tunnel through space’ lesson – perhaps next we’re going to discover how it can all go wrong??  And, this is called ‘the long way’ etc, etc – so anything could happen couldn’t it?

Very intriguing story so far, compelling from virtually the get-go!

Relevant hashtags: #RRSciFiMonth or #SmallAngryPlanet

Goodreads group readalong link here.


11 Responses to “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, readalong week No.1 #RRSciFiMonth”

  1. Sharry

    Oooh, you and Mogsy have already posted answers to your disc 😛 Mine’s going to be up soon…(I think I’m going to ramble a whole lot on how awesome these first 100 pages have been). I totally agree that Kizzy and Dr. Chef are stealing the show! I am just overall totally impressed by how endearing all the characters are so far, even, yes, Corbin! (haha, I love laughing at Corbin). Also, (I like it when the characters get tortured :P) I’m hoping the Wayfarer will get in whole loads of trouble and maybe have to cross the Kaj’met Expanse and get involved in Toremi disputes!! Fingers crossed more excitement to come (and more pranks on poor Corbin!)

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m thinking you’ll probably get your wish – I envision the Wayfarer and it’s crew getting in a whole heap of bother. Fingers crossed for the pranks.
      Lynn 😀

  2. imyril

    I hope you don’t mind me stopping by (I’ve jumped into the Read-Along) – I’m totally with you on feeling that Rosemary may have blown things out of proportion and it being perhaps family-related, but I wondered if it might be some sort of diplomatic gaffe that (she feels) has shamed her family (economically or politically)? She has all these languages, and spends so much time trying to be sure she’s communicating respectfully and appropriately, which is of course just good manners – but might also be a hint? I’m looking forward to finding out more 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Course I don’t mind you stopping by – the more the merrier and the discussion is what these readalongs are all about – for me anyway. I like the idea of a diplomatic gaffe – yeah, did it feel like she was implying that everyone had turned their back on her? I can’t remember whether I read something that made me feel like that or whether I’ve just imagined it! I’m usually pretty wide of the mark with my guesses to be honest – but I’ve gone into this readalong without any idea of what the book is about – because I didn’t want to know any spoilers.
      Lynn 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Also – stopped on over to your site – couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to leave a comment – I’m pretty sure I had a Live Journal account but it was so long ago that I’ve either been chucked out or simply that I can no longer remember my password.
      Anyway: regarding your discussion:
      I like your idea for Rosemary. I’m absolutely hopeless at second guessing things but I did feel as though she comes across as though she doesn’t believe she’s done anything wrong. I suppose there’s always the possibility that she could be an unreliable narrator but I’m not picking that up at the moment!
      I was also wondering if this ‘too good to be true’ job that the Wayfarer has found out about might be a set up – it feels like they’re rushing head first into a situation and perhaps they’re being used as a scapegoat, or set up somehow.
      Sissix is quite lovingly described now you mention it – certainly a lot more detail than the other characters – she obviously had an impact on Rosemary which is understandable. I love the feathered neck ruffle. And, on top of that she’s just a lovely character isn’t she.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Interesting theories about Rosemary! I thought maybe she might be running from family because they were the ones who did something bad, but it never occurred to me that *she* could have been the one to make the mistake. Anything can happen, I admit I’m as clueless as you are. Part of me also thinks it’s going to be something so far out of left field we’ll never even see it coming – which is why I’m always wrong about my guesses!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Actually – I’m usually way off the mark with my guesses in fact I sort of stopped speculating for a while – but I thought what the hell! I like your idea of running from family though. I thought that was a pretty good idea. At the time it felt like she was getting away from something – almost shameful – I don’t know why I had that impression but I also felt like she felt innocent of anything bad somehow. Your family theory feels more reasonable though.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Greg

    I haven’t read this but it sounds great- I like the idea of a small, tight knit group on a big ship and a mystery revolving around a central character. Rosemary sounds interesting…and so does the crew. Looks fun!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m really enjoying it so far and a readalong is so good for teasing out ideas.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Anya

    I was also kind of worried about how heavy this sci-fi would be and am so excited that there are characters to love and fun science lessons that don’t get too technical! I’m finding more and more that I’ve turned into a read that needs strong characters since then I feel like I’m hanging out with friends and I would so love to hang out with this crew 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      This crew are good to hang out with – which is a good thing because they’re going on a long haul so I expect we’re going to have plenty of time to get more familiar with them.
      Lynn 😀

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